Toronto developer creates iOS app for shift workers

Nearly 30% of Canadians work what the government considers shift work, an often-vacillating schedule of multiple jobs or last minute fill-ins.

Sorting out the logistics of such appointment-filling is the perfect canvas for a smartphone, where one keeps all his or her most important worldly thoughts and memories.

Enter Shifts, from Toronto-based developer Snowman, the company that brought you well-known to-do managers Checkmark and Checkmark 2. The app allows shift workers to distinguish between jobs, locations, times and earnings in a beautifully laid out interface, optimized for iOS 8.

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“We’d been thinking about building an app like Shifts for almost 2 years – ever since the first Checkmark launched,” said Ryan Cash, co-founder and CEO of Snowman. “We decided to try our hand at games (Circles, then Super Squares) instead of tackling another productivity project, so that idea was put on hold. After we shipped Checkmark 2, and were already knee deep in Alto’s Adventure [ed. coming soon], we decided that the timing was run to try to build Shifts.”

Cash found that he had a few close friends that worked in shifts and “weren’t satisfied with any of the existing solutions or the native iOS Calendar app.” That’s because iOS, while able to visually distinguish between calendars, doesn’t have the granular ability to keep track of details important to many shift workers, like repeating but not identically-timed tasks and earnings.

Users add jobs to the app upon entering, giving each one a visual representation with a header image, and then tap on the calendar date to add that particular shift to the schedule.

One’s schedule can also be shared using iOS 8’s new Extensions tool, or added to the Today screen using the built-in widget, which is Cash’s favourite part of the app. “It lets users see their upcoming shifts without even launching the app. I think that’s definitely one of our killer features,” said Cash.

Launching for $1.99, a discount from the regular $4.99, Shifts for iOS is available now.

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